10 Tips For a Sustainable Holiday Season: UCF Edition

Tip #1 Get creative with your wrapping
Wrapping paper is a major source of waste. This holiday season try using newspaper (comics are great!), magazines, reusable cloth, or recycled paper. Leave out the ribbons and bows- these frills aren’t recyclable and end up in landfills.

Tip #2 Make an alternative tree
Christmas trees are an essential to the festivities of the holiday season, but they too often end up on driveways, and eventually in landfalls. Why not get crafty this year with an eco-friendly alternative? Check out these unique alternative Christmas trees to get an idea for your own project.

Tip #3 Use holiday lights sparingly
If outdoor lights help you get into the holiday spirit, make sure you turn them off during the day or get a timer from your local hardware store. If you’re in the market for new lights, consider buying LED lights,which use one tenth the amount of energy as conventional lights.

A study by the Florida Solar Energy Center found that average household energy use for lighting increases 130 kwhs during the thirty-day holiday season following Thanksgiving

Tip #4 Which is better for the earth: live or artificial trees?
Living trees are biodegradable, but they also require water and other natural resources to grow. Meanwhile, artificial trees are made of petroleum and never decompose. If you get a live tree make sure you are disposing of it an environmentally friendly way—trees in a landfill can generate climate-harmful methane and burning them releases Carbon Dioxide. Check with your local county waste management to see how you can recycle your tree. If you plan on going artificial this year, consider keeping it for future holiday seasons to reduce your impact.

Tip #5 Give gifts that help you get outside
There’s no time like the present to get in touch with natural world. Hammocks, tents, kayaks, sleeping bags, and even solar powered lanterns can help inspire this connection. Don’t want to buy them? You can also rent these items from UCF Outdoor Adventure located in the Recreation and Wellness Center.

Tip #6 Give energy saving electronics and appliances
If tablets, laptops, or TV’s are on your wish list, keep an eye out for an energy star label.

Tip #7 Don’t give material gifts at all!
An experience is often better and more memorable that a physical gift. Instead of bulk, consider giving tickets to a concert/performance,museum, or movie. Classes also make for great gifts,and The Florida School of Holistic Healing offers a wide variety for those interested in herbalism.

Tip #8 Thrift it
Minimalism and the holiday season don't typically go hand in hand. Instead of buying new, consider visiting a thrift store. You'll be diverting waste from landfills and you'll be helping your community. Besides, you never know what treasures you might find buried in the heaps of time.

Tip #9 Ditch the Cards
Holiday Cards are nice, but they are typically thrown away after only one use. Make a responsible decision and consider using e-cards or recycled paper instead.

Tip #10 Donate
UCF’s Knights Helping Pantry allows students to take 5 food items a day and has there is no limit on toiletries or clothing. If you have old electronics make sure you recycle them at Technology Commons—e-waste contains chemicals that can be hazardous in landfills.